Psychoanalytic Insights into Fundamentalism and Conviction: The Certainty Principle examines the role of, and need for, certainty in mental life, addressing questions raised by fundamentalism and extremism and exploring its relation to human nature. Murdin proposes a new synthesis in which certainty itself can be a cause of suffering and part of a defensive manoeuvre, and considers how the need for certainty can be managed in a positive way, rather than creating fear and extreme emotional responses.
Illustrated throughout with examples from psychotherapy practice, literature and international politics, this book considers how the quest for certainty dominates much of human thinking. Murdin examines personal relationships, including politics and religion, where assumptions are taken for granted but function to hide fears and doubts, and argues that fundamentalist elements can generate harm in anyone, but understanding and work in therapy can mitigate it.
Psychoanalytic Insights into Fundamentalism and Conviction will help to identify the underlying convictions that are causing mental harm. It will be essential reading for psychotherapists, psychoanalysts and counsellors in practice and in training, and will be of interest to readers interested in fundamentalist states of mind.
Murdin has written a passionate, lucid and well-informed plea for pluralism in the mind, in society, and in the practice of psychotherapy and counselling. She lays out for us the often irresistible seductions of fundamentalist certitude – and what can go wrong when people lose their sense of doubt and scepticism. It is significant that a senior therapist seeks to re-establish the credentials of liberal humanism and her book will be useful both in terms of clinical practice and important debates taking place in the field.
Andrew Samuels, author of The Plural Psyche and The Political Psyche
Chapter 1 Certainty – who needs it?
Chapter 2. Certainty in everyday life
Chapter 3. Certainty in politics
Chapter 4. Certainty in religion
Chapter 5. Certainty in theory
Chapter 6. Certainty in depression
Chapter 7. Certainty on the autistic spectrum
Chapter 8. Certainty and doubt in balance